2011 NFL Mock Draft: Could 8 Quarterbacks Go in the First Round?

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIApril 12, 2011

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Could 8 Quarterbacks Go in the First Round?

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    This idea is a rather crazy one, but let's go with it for a moment.  There are currently eight teams that are in need of a starting quarterback.  Carolina, Buffalo, Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee, Washington, Minnesota and Miami all had terrible play at the quarterback position.  All these teams will certainly be looking for a quarterback in the draft, and while some of these players are certain to go in the first round, what if a team waits too long and doesn't find what it is looking for?

    Here is a look at the eight quarterbacks that could possibly (not really) get drafted in the first round.

    By the way, the most quarterbacks ever drafted in the first round was six in 1983.

1st Pick: Carolina Panthers Pick Blaine Gabbert

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    Blaine Gabbert is the safest pick at the quarterback position and what Carolina needs right now is stability.  It wasn't too long ago that Carolina was an early season favorite to go to the Super Bowl with Jake Delhomme at quarterback.  Carolina still has some weapons on offensive, mainly Steve Smith and Jonathan Stewart, and there will be some quality defensive players still available in later rounds.

    Probability of this pick: 80 percent

    It looks like Carolina will either be drafting a quarterback or a defensive player.  If they go with a quarterback, chances are it will be Gabbert.

3rd Pick: Buffalo Bills Pick Cam Newton

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    Buffalo has been a bad team for a long time.  They haven't had a winning season since 2004 and they need to add an explosive playmaker to their offense.  There is no quarterback available like Cam Newton, and even though there is a great risk in drafting Newton this high, the reward could be even bigger.  Newton will also bring in an entirely new fanbase to Buffalo and could be the face of the franchise that Buffalo so desperately needs.

    Probability of this pick: 90 percent

    Buffalo is almost certainly taking a quarterback with this pick, and even if Gabbert is available, I think Buffalo will take Newton.

5th Pick: Arizona Cardinals Pick Ryan Mallett

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    The Cardinals might need a quarterback more than any other team in this draft as their quarterback play last year was absolutely horrific.  Ryan Mallett has a huge arm but moves slower than molasses.  There are questions about his maturity, but could you imagine Mallett launching the deep ball to Larry Fitzgerald every other play?  It would be a beautiful thing.

    Probability of this pick: 35 percent

    There are too many questions surrounding Mallett's maturity for him to be drafted this high.  However, if Gabbert and Newton go before the Cardinals fifth pick, look for them to make a late-round trade to take a quarterback.

7th Pick: San Francisco 49ers Pick Jake Locker

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    San Francisco brought in Jim Harbaugh as their head coach in hopes that he can groom their future quarterback.  Jake Locker has been all over the draft boards throughout his college career.  No one is sure if his lack of stellar play is due to the lack of talent that surrounded him at Washington or his own lack of stellar ability.  He has the skills desired to be a potential starter in the NFL and could make plays with his feet or throw it downfield to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis.

    Probability of this pick: 50 percent

    If there is any coach that could make Jake Locker a success, it is Jim Harbaugh.  However, it is still up in the air if San Francisco wants to take the chance on Locker or not.

8th Pick: Tennessee Titans Pick Ricky Stanzi

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    The Tennessee Titans want to get as far away as possible from Vince Young, and Ricky Stanzi might be the complete opposite of Young.  Stanzi has the leadership, work ethic and attitude you want from a starting quarterback.  He is a pocket passer who has good size and intangibles.  He will definitely be a project to become an eventual starter.

    Probability of this pick: 0 percent

    No offense to Ricky Stanzi, but there is no way he is getting drafted in the first round.  Look for him to go anywhere between the third and fifth round.

10th Pick: Washington Redskins Pick Colin Kaepernick

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    The Washington Redskins were hoping that Donovan McNabb could hold down the quarterback position for the near future, but that didn't quite work.  Kaepernick is extremely athletic and can make plays with both his arm and his feet.  The team who takes Kaepernick will need to run their offense around his unique set of skills, which would work out well for Washington as Santana Moss is their only offensive threat left.  Kaepernick has the potential to be an effective starter, but it will take creativity to get him there.

    Probability of this pick: 20 percent

    Kaepernick is currently projected to go in the second or third round and Mike Shanahan might decide to take a huge chance in hopes of it paying off.  Whoever Washington picks with this pick is going to need to make an instant impact.

12th Pick: Minnesota Vikings Pick Andy Dalton

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    Andy Dalton will fit best in a system where he can make short and quick throws.  With Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice and Visanthe Shiancoe, Dalton might fit in nicely.  Dalton has proven he can win big games and has more intangibles than any other quarterback in this draft.  He isn't athletic and doesn't have a big arm, but he is a smart player who will always be prepared come game time.

    Probability of this pick: one percent

    Minnesota will most likely wait until a later round to take a project quarterback like Dalton, but the Packer fan in me hopes they take him in the first round.

15th Pick: Miami Dolphins Pick Christian Ponder

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    Christian Ponder's career was hampered by injuries at Florida State and his durability is the top question surrounding him.  He has a great desire to win and a fiery style of play, but he does lack certain physical attributes that you desire in a starting quarterback.  No one will doubt his toughness, intelligence and competitive nature, and a team like Miami might desire those traits more than actual playing ability.

    Probability of this pick: zero percent

    Ponder will remind too many in Miami of Chad Pennington, and they won't spend a first-round pick on a player with Ponder's durability issues.